Friday, May 9, 2014

DVD Review - JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time

I grew up on SuperFriends, waking up each Saturday morning before 6:00 and watching the countdown until the viewing day began with a patriotic montage and the national anthem. I remember when SuperFriends went off the air for a year, and then came back as SuperPowers. I was so excited. After two more seasons it disappeared again forever. I kept hoping it would come back, but it never did.

And then in college Justice League debuted and I was excited thinking SuperFriends was back. Alas, it was not so. Justice League was a miserable failure until the end of the second season when it started to pick up, and by the fourth season (Justice League Unlimited Season 2) it came close to capturing the magic of SuperFriends.

Then I was in Target one day and saw the cover on the left and wondered what this was. I had heard nothing about it, and I keep my ear pretty close to the ground when it comes to superheroes.

JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time is a direct-to-video animated action, adventure, science fiction, superhero movie staring the Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Robin). It was released as a Target exclusive for a few months before gaining a general release. It is appropriate for all ages.

The Good

SuperFriends is Back! After the disappointment of Justice League and DC Entertainments move to DC Original Animated Movies, I thought SuperFriends was gone forever. I'm so glad I was wrong. This movie had the classic heroes and villains we loved from the original series, the Hall of Justice, the Legion of Doom, a scientific fiction trope to drive the plot, and lots of action.

The Action. This movie opens with a giant brawl between the Justice League and the Legion of Doom, and has plenty more fight scenes before the story is over. The animation was well done with all the characters given a decent chunk of time to show what he or she can do.

The Cast of Characters. One of the things that was so fun about the original SuperFriends was seeing all of my favorite heroes and villains together, and being introduced to new ones. The producers didn't let me down. They included over a dozen heroes and villains and gave each a good chunk of screen time and opportunities to use their powers and abilities.

The Costume Designs. The character designs were very true to the original with a fun, modern twist to keep them fresh. While my preference would be for the classic looks, these stayed true enough to the originals that I actually kind of liked them.

The Bad

Robin. Robin was really annoying. They portrayed him as a bratty hyperactive kid with no self control. I suppose they were trying to make him edgy, but instead they made him unlikable.

Wonder Woman. I love Wonder Woman, but she is a hard character to get right. The producers of this show decided to go with the tough, fierce warrior instead of the kind, compassionate, strong woman that we fell in love with in the comics and Lynda Carter TV show. While she wasn't as angry and witchy as some interpretations, she wasn't as likeable as she could have been.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

I enjoyed seeing the SuperFriends back in action. I wish the movie had focused on them instead of the two new characters, Karate Kid and Dawnstar, and Lex Luthor. While they were interesting characters, I really miss the heroes I grew up with. Hopefully the next one will focus more on the old heroes.


Overall this was a very enjoyable movie with a lot of action, interesting character development, fun new costume designs, and a bit of a twist on the time travel trope. The movie has a good pace and while it is skewed for younger viewers, there is enough story and excitement to hold an older audiences attention. I give it 4 out of 5 boxes of popcorn.

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